My messy writing space (and why it is slowly sucking out my soul)

I am a messy person. This has been evident since … well, since as long as I can remember. I have gotten into multiple arguments (read: screaming matches) over the years over my inability to do the dishes, vacuum the carpet, refill the water jug, etc. I have accepted this about myself, although my living companions still live in hope that I will one day reform and become a cleaning goddess. This will never happen, but I try to encourage them by occasionally cleaning the bathroom so they don’t give up on me entirely. I haven’t been thrown out of a house/apartment yet, so I’d say my plan has been largely successful thus far.

Anyway, today’s topic is on writing spaces. I was inspired to write this post because I’ve been feeling very aimless recently when I sit down to work at my desk. And then the reason behind my aimlessness occurred to me — it’s because my desk is a disaster. If this were Jurassic Park, my desk would be the bloody remains of that goat the T-Rex chomped up. Disturbing mental images aside, check out the horror that is my sacred writing space:

20130201_141929Because that isn’t the greatest image in the world, not to mention the cherry blossoms somewhat detract from the point I’m trying to make, I will now provide a listing of everything currently scattered across my desk. Ready?

  • 4 printouts of my book cover, in various states of wrinkley-ness
  • a pricing sheet that lists the various author discounts at which I can purchase my book
  • 4 notebooks
  • a diagram of a high pressure boiler feedwater pump
  • 3 to-do lists
  • assorted papers
  • “Be Still” bookmark
  • 3 pens
  • 1 mechanical pencil
  • 2 silver sharpies
  • old book manuscript (spiral bound)
  • fancy leather binder my dad gave me for Christmas
  • Flipcam
  • glass of water
  • note with directions to London Writer’s Society meeting
  • “Im in ur cassel, advizin ur king” mousepad
  • mouse, keyboard, monitor

In case this hasn’t become apparent, the moral of the story here is thatΒ clutter stifles your creativity.Β This mass of junk is a reminder of all the things I have to do, or that I haven’t yet accomplished, and it’sΒ exhausting. So if there’s one thing you should take away from this post, it’s that some mess = fine, but stupid amounts of clutter = bad.

So if you’re swimming in a sea of random papers, old journals, and a truly unnecessary number of writing utensils, just do as I do — write a post about how horrible clutter is, and then do absolutely nothing to fix it.


In other news …

I’ve been intending to do a blog tour to celebrate the release of Imminent Danger, but I keep putting it off. I had intended to continue putting it off, until the lovely and talented J.R. Wolfe informed me that she had A) read and enjoyed my book, and B) was going to post an author interview with me on her blog on Saturday, whether I liked it or not. Just kidding! Mostly …

Anyway, a few hours later the equally lovely and talented Celeste DeWolfe also requested an author interview, and before I knew it, I had somehow become involved in a mini blog tour. I will definitely be holding a longer blog tour (probably in March), so don’t despair — you, too, will have a chance to be a part of my blog tour, aka the greatest blogging event known to mankind.

I’ll post links on Saturday and Sunday to the respective lovely ladies’ blogs, where you’ll find insightful (ha!) interviews in which I reveal assorted facts about my life and writing. So stay tuned for Michelle’s Mini Magical Weekend Blog Tour! (I think MMMWBT rolls off the tongue, don’t you?)

Feel free to stop by and ask questions if you feel so inclined. Here are some example questions you might consider asking:

  • Has your giant teddy bear come to life and eaten anyone yet?
  • Why is your hair tied up in all your pictures? Do you have some sort of weird phobia about having hair on your neck?
  • Why haven’t you reviewed my book yet? ARGHHHHHH!
  • Why do you feel that bacon is the greatest and most magical foodstuff in all of creation?
  • What are your thoughts on unicycles?

Unrelated image of the day:

Categories: Random, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 61 Comments

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61 thoughts on “My messy writing space (and why it is slowly sucking out my soul)

  1. My first thought when I looked at the picture of your desk was, ‘Hmm, that doesn’t look that messy…’ Makes me wonder what you’d think of the state of my desk/office, lol.

  2. Reblogged this on Robin Writes.

  3. karengadient

    That’s messy? Heh. My desk would make you twitch. However, much of my clutter is either inspiring (Legos, gifts from friends, model ships, artwork) or a to-do note/task list. Plus several types of input devices, due to my wrist problems–which means three mouse pads, a headset, and a separate laptop desk for my art tablet. *facepalm* Somehow, I get work done. πŸ˜‰

    • Very impressive! I’m going half-mad with just my mounds of paperwork. If I added in mouse pads and legos and such, I’d probably have to curl up in a corner and cry.

  4. I don’t agree that clutter stifles creativity. I’m the opposite; my desk is cluttered, but it’s cluttered with items that inspire me. I find an empty desk horrifying. Because you know what they say about an empty desk: it’s a sure sign the person sitting there has an empty mind…

  5. rafflesia

    isn’t that messy indeed, its o cozy..

  6. I’ve seen worse. Not mine, of course. πŸ˜‰

  7. Ohhh, Michelle… xD I don’t even have a desk, which is sort of sad. However, if judging any room I’ve ever owned or my apartment is an indication, it would pretty much be just a storage space for my assorted crap anyway.
    But I feel you, bro. I have a basic, genetic aversion to cleaning as well. This is what will probably get me thrown out of my house sooner than later. I feel better, though, knowing that you are the same. πŸ˜€

    • I tend to clean when the dirt build up has reached the point where I legitimately fear for my health. Then, and only then, do the cleaning gloves go on!

      • Ha ha. xD How long does it take to get like that? I tend to ignore the whole health thing, which usually ends badly for me. I’m pretty sure that a bell pepper I left in my fridge grew sentient and tried to kill me once.

        • I think the only real danger is from mold. I say that because one of my co-workers back in Korea (I feel like a war veteran when I say that. Back in Korea …) ANYWAY one of my co-workers had this huge build-up of mold under her bed and she didn’t notice because who looks for mold under their bed? So the mold gave her some sort of illness – I think bronchitis? – and the doctors suggested it might be mold-related, so she searched her apartment from top to bottom and found the mold. I guess the moral here is that mold = bad.

          • DOWN WITH MOLD! I totally agree though. Gotta draw the line at mold. That’s usually when I curse my own laziness, pull on rubber gloves, and FINALLY do something about it. xD Obviously a good way to live.

  8. First of all, if you think that’s a messy desk, go to whichever school is nearest you and check out any random teacher’s workspace. There’s a 75% chance it’s a true disaster. Secondly, I am now quite curious about what you think of unicycles.

    • Maybe I just had weird teachers, but I seem to remember their desks as being fairly clean. Maybe they just tidied up when they knew a student was dropping by?

      Unicycles? I think they’re silly contraptions fit only for hipsters, clowns, and 19th century gentlemen. Oh, and elephants.

  9. Let’s see… Lava lamp, phone, pen in the shape of a robot, pack of cigarettes, instructions for the bluetooth keyboard for my Kindle Fire, Barnes&Noble giftcard from my sister, another pen (not in the shape of a robot) two USB to miniUSB cables, the battery from my Ma’s old laptop which I use to prop up my computer monitor, steel washer from God knows where, computer, monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse, steel lizard made from a wrench that my beloved bought me at the botanical gardens, and my backup harddrive.

    That’s on my desk–I’m not going to go into the stuff on my auxiliary table next to my desk.

    • Very nice! You’ve got the makings of some excellent clutter there, my friend! Now just add in a few empty mugs and I’d say you’re all set.

  10. I don’t like clutter. I destroy clutter. I could clean that desk in 4 minutes. And so can you.

    • I could, but then the clutter gods would come after me, and everyone knows you can only escape the clutter gods by sacrificing a one-eyed weasel. So unless you’ve got one lying around, I think I’ll take my chances with the clutter.

  11. Hehehe, I giggle at your “messy” desk space. It’s like a wee little mess that might one day grow into a real mess.

    I did recently clean up my desk area, but I had a pile of papers on it that went down to last year’s tax documents. And under that were spilled beads and thread and needles and paperclips and random earrings. And crumbs. We mustn’t forget the crumbs, mixed with a thick mortar of dust and cat hair.

    That’s not the worst of it. It flowed down into the floor on both sides with piles of books that I used for reference 6 months or more ago, lost silverware, more papers, dishtowels, hair thingies, emery boards, and a half-finished beaded kippah. There were also chips and cereal bits and cat fingernails and my fingernails, and even more crumbs interwoven in the tangle of two computers’ (and two printers’) worth of cords.

    Do you want to know what’s odd about this obviously disgusting workspace (which also serves as my internet hub, gaming station, dinner table, and occasional craft table)? When I’m working in an office–as in my regular job–I can’t stand a messy desk. I have been known to have multiple in-boxes so I can keep all my work organized and I am fastidious about my office supplies.

    Somehow, though, when I go home, all that anal-retentiveness goes by the wayside and I work in the equivalent of a college guy’s computer space.

    • Well, you definitely have me beat for mess, lol. Although I’m pretty sure I have my fair share of fingernail clippings lying around …

      I should really vacuum.

  12. I write on the dining room table. Your spot looks like heaven. – John

    • The flowers make it seem more hospitable than it is. I actually can’t write there for most of the day due to the sun glaring through the windows/curtains/everything I put up to block it. And a dining room table doesn’t sound so bad! There are some very nice dining room tables out there!

  13. All that Star Wars patter reminded me–I’ve misplaced my lightsaber. Anybody see it? I looked on Michelle’s desk but there was so much clutter there I can’t tell. Anybody? Hans? Leia? Bueller?

  14. When you can still see portions of the actual desktop, that is not a messy desk. πŸ˜‰ Good luck on your blog-hopping and have fun!

    • Haha thanks! As for the messy bit, I’ll have to stack more things on my desk and report back so you can tell me if it’s reached “messy” level yet πŸ˜€

  15. Yah, you wouldn’t want to see my desk, I don’t think. On top of the large number of papers and pens and iThings and knick-knacks and figurines and CDs and photos and fans and candles and vases and lamps and microphones and crochet narwhals and dolls and thermometers … and so on … there’s usually a pushy, needy ginger cat, as well …

  16. Gwen

    Even though it’s a mess, I’m jealous of your writing space. I write at the kitchen table.

  17. That’s a messy writing area? I don’t think so. I think it’s just the right mix of creative jumble and beauty. Can’t go wrong with a Hello Kitty notebook, a window view and cherry blossoms. πŸ˜‰

    • In an amusing twist, my window view actually provides me with a lovely view of the apartment building across the road. Lol. But yes, the cherry blossoms do add a touch of class to the place πŸ™‚

  18. I am automatically clutter-free since all my work is done from a Netbook (portable, naturally) and the clutter simply isn’t fast enough to catch me as I flit from place to place like the Millennium Falcon with Vader on its tail (see how I tied in your unrelated image there?).
    However, as my DNA contains the active CM (clutter-magnet) gene, any desk that I settled at, even briefly) would instantly fill with nick-nacks, as if it was a cartoon magnet.

    • I would advise against working in the kitchen. Then everything, including the butcher knives would be attracted to you, which might result in rather pointy end for you.

  19. That’s not messy. My desk is so messy I have relocated to my corner of the bed, and I’m certain with this mess a new move will be in the works very soon. By the way, I am loving your book!!! It’s so good I stopped reading the one I was in the middle of before to finish yours and my boss keeps telling me to put my phone away while I’m working (has my Kindle app on it). I don’t get it, all my patients are sedated so its not like they would complain, right? I love Varrin, he’s a cross between Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper in my mind …. with the arrogance of Flynn Ryder from Tangled. I’ll write a review on my blog when I’m all done.

    • Oh yay, I’m so glad you’re reading it! I wasn’t sure if you were going to wait until I’d sent you a physical copy. I assume you still want one for your collection? My treat πŸ™‚

      Yes, Varrin is kind of the love of my life πŸ˜€ A statement which I shall have to retract when I actually meet said love-of-life, but until then, Varrin all the way!!! I’m very excited to read your review πŸ™‚

      • Oh yes, a physical copy please. I bought your book on Kindle the day it came out, but was in the middle of reading another book. I thought I’d browse the first chapter of yours and I was sucked in. I’ll tell you, that is not an easy feat with me. If you don’t grab me in the first few chapters, it becomes like a job, but yours in excellent!!! Eris is the proverbial space damsel in distress!!! Guess it took an abduction to find her voice. LOL.

  20. From my observations of people around me over the years, I have a theory about orderliness. Either you have it or you don’t. Either you’re going to create clutter or you’re not. Those who do, will have always have to put forth extra effort to stay neat.

  21. I tend to work (and live) in chaos. I use my laptop at my side rather than sit at the desk and always have TONS of stuff around me. My wife bought me a magazine rack to put everything into. Keep them out of sight.

    Love the Han solo conversation. Classic πŸ™‚

    • You use your laptop at your “side” … you mean on your lap? Or have you built a special laptop-belt-contraption that allows you to rest your laptop at your waist and then pivot dramatically when you want to type something?

      • Hahaha, on a side table so I can sit on the sofa and surf and type. Though the contraption you describe could earn a fortune πŸ™‚

  22. Clearly you need a massively ornate gothic desk in a immense solarium. The clutter won’t seem too bad then.

  23. LOL. I think anyone who writes can relate to that desk. Mine’s a match. πŸ™‚

  24. I am happy that I’m not the only writer with a terrible workspace. But I will never post a picture of mine – far too incriminating. Everyone who knows I’m disorganized and late to everything will roll their eyes at me and say, “SEE!! PROOF!!” As it is, with no photographic proof, I can pretend…I’m good at that.

    Saw your blog referenced on The 4a.m. Writer…so had to check it out!

    • Hahaha what’s the worse that can happen? Other than the fact that everyone will judge you for being messy and then your friends and family will shun you and you’ll be kicked out of your dwelling and will have to live in the sewers with the teenage mutant ninja turtles …

  25. I don’t mind clutter. I’m always surrounded by clutter when I’m working/writing, and it doesn’t hinder me at all. In fact, I wouldn’t consider your desk to be messy at all!

  26. Hmm… if that’s messy I better save myself the embarrassment of posting a picture of my desk! Good post!

  27. I LOVE your huge monitor – I do an extended desktop with a similar monitor and my laptop. Perfect for comparing documents/reviewing edits. I’m also liking your pink flowers on the side – my office could really use a plant.

    • Well, it’s a “plant” in that it looks like a plant. It is, of course, plastic. As if I could actually care for a plant. I can barely feed and water myself, let alone another living thing.

      I also love my huge monitor. Back when I was in South Korea, I spent about 8 months exclusively using a 10 inch netbook. Now I look at it, cringe, and shove it back under my bed. I can’t believe I used to watch movies on that thing. Eek.

      • I spent the first two years of my writing business on a 9″ netbook! I don’t know how I did it either. Just shows you what you can do with what you really NEED.

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